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Tahitian (te reo tahiti/te reo Māʼohi)

Tahitian is a Polynesian language spoken in French Polynesia by about 125,000 people. Most speakers of the language live in the Society Islands (Îles de la Société) and some islands in the Tuamotus including the Mihiroa group. It is also spoken in New Caledonia, New Zealand and Vanuatu, and is closely related to Rarotongan and Hawai'ian.

Until the early 19th century Tahitian was a purely oral language. A Tahitian spelling system using the Latin alphabet was developed by John Davis, a Welsh historian and linguist, and proposed on 8th March 1805. Davis produduced the first printed book in Tahitian, an ABC called Te Aebi no Tahiti, in 1810. Most of the written material published since has been of a religious or educational nature.

Tahitian alphabet and pronunciation

Tahitian alphabet and pronunciation


Every syllable in Tahitian ends in a vowel. There are no silent letters. There are no consonants clusters, but vowel clusters are common. In such cases, each vowel is pronounced as a separate syllable. A macron (ā, ē, etc.) lengthens a vowel.

Sample text in Tahitian

E fanauhia te tā'āto'ara'a o te ta'atātupu ma te ti'amā e te ti'amanara'a 'aifaito. Ua 'ī te mana'o pa'ari e i te manava e ma te 'a'au taea'e 'oia ta ratou ha'a i rotopū ia ratou iho, e ti'a ai;


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Tahitian | Tahitian phrases | Tower of Babel in Tahitian


Information about the Tahitian language

Académie Tahitienne / Fare Vāa'a (Tahitian Academy)

Tahitian language courses

Tahitian dictionaries

Tahitian phrases

Malayo-Polynesian languages

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet